I remember the time when my father decided to surprise me by coming along with me on my flight to Kolkata. My flight had a stop over at Ahmedabad, and he decided to pop into Ahmedabad to see a friend.
Until we reached Ahmedabad, things were happy and smooth. I was duly surprised, duly happy with the surprise and duly content with the idea of continuing my journey alone from there.
We took off at Ahmedabad — and landed immediately.
As far as I’m concerned, bird-hits belong to faded hoardings put up at airports by the air force as warnings. They don’t belong to reality.
Whether the bird-hit was real or not, I don’t know. The newspapers the next day said ‘Suspected bird-hit’ and commended the pilot for having decided to land even though he wasn’t sure, keeping in mind the safety of the passengers.
What I do know is that the hasty landing caused a tyre to be punctured and, of course, with an aeroplane, you can’t just call the mechanic, use a jack to raise the vehicle and change the wheel. We were given some nonsensical food and made to wait.
We waited nine hours.
By the time I left Ahmedabad, it was nearly time for my father to leave and get back home too.
The joyous part was telling people that I got late getting to Kolkata from the other side of the country because a tyre got punctured.